The Professional Mum - Childcare for the Summer Holidays

For many professional mums at this time of year, thoughts turn to their childcare arrangements during the school summer holidays.

Options to consider are drafting in willing relatives to help, or offering mutual support to friends in a similar position.

Another source of inspiration could be Bristol City Council's Family Information Service, offering free, impartial information and guidance on a full range of childcare and children's services and resources across the city. Information is available on finding childcare, with a list of childcare options in your area, along with contact details. Type 'holiday club' into the Childcare Search on their 1BigDatabase and you'll find a list of relevant providers. You can then contact them to check the hours they can provide childcare, the cost and availability.

In addition, the Family Information Service has achieved the Families First Accreditation, a quality assurance process developed by NAFIS (The National Association of Family Information Services) in conjunction with the Department for Education (DfE) as a tool to measure the effectiveness of delivery of its statutory obligation to meet the Information Duty in Section 12 of the 2006 Childcare Act.

Other professional mums' experiences of a childcare provider may also be useful. However, although personal recommendations can be helpful, you should always take up other references.

You may find details of local childcare providers on noticeboards at local schools, community centres, libraries, or shops. But again, always remember to check references.

Visiting your chosen childcare setting is a good idea. Some things to look for include trained and experienced staff, ready to respond to your child's individual needs and busy but relaxed children who seem happy and purposeful. Premises need to be safe and clean with outside play space, and fun activities should be planned each day with the childrens' interests and enthusiasms in mind. Also look out for a warm welcome for you and your child!